Published Jun 04, 2019Many bands at the forefront of death metal have been returning to the roots of the genre — stripping it down, turning it up and leaving room for d-beat and hardcore to seep in. Forging intense and unabashed death metal, Massachusetts outfit Fuming Mouth are preeminent practitioners of this school of thought, and their debut, The Grand Descent, is their thesis on what it is to be heavy.
It's a devastating-sounding album. Punishing riffs fed through buzzsaw guitar tones abound, while the bass and drums thunder like an artillery barrage. It's massive, but never lacking in clarity, thanks to Kurt Ballou's masterful production.
It's especially effective when those breakdowns come in with the force of a freight train. Fuming Mouth know the riff is the lifeblood of death metal, and they sling them hard, like on the sludge-infused "Burning Hand." Each song is a call to action; they want you on your feet, starting circle pits anywhere and everywhere you feel the need to.
While instrumentally, the album is predominantly death metal, the savage, screaming vocals give it a metallic hardcore edge. Stylistically, it falls somewhere between Gatecreeper and Nails, while channelling Swedish death metal and British grindcore. Death metal bangers like "Nothing to Bleed" and "Dead Asleep" are joined by crustier tracks like "Fatalism" and "Out of the Shadows," balancing bludgeoning riffs with skin-searing speed.
Fuming Mouth have come out swinging with their debut. The Grand Descent is a rewarding exercise in intensity, focused, unyielding and uncompromising. It's as much a tip of the hat to death metal's past as a sign of what's to come. (Triple B Records)